Utilitarianism - ending pain vs increasing pleasure

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Ending pain is more imp than increasing pleasure

Utilitarian approach:

  • People deserve to be happy.

In order for this to happen the first thing you have to do is deal with people who are in pain.

E.g. giving to local charity to help people in poverty in your community.

By ending pain by helping out of poverty enables you to increase the pleasure of others bc there are long term benefits from ending people's pain - community becomes more prosperous.

Religious approach:

  • We have a duty to help those in need - 'love thy neighbour.'

E.g. Maximilan Kolbe sacrificed himself at a concentration camp to save a father.

Kolbe considered ending pain to be more imp bc he ended the man's suffering (as he wasn't killed) and put that before increasing his own happiness (as he didn't save his own life).

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Ending pain is not more imp than inc pleasure

Utilitarian approach: You should maximise happiness bc as an individual you can do LITTLE to stop A LOT of pain.

Therefore, focus on maximising your own higher pleasures. E.g. going to university makes it more likely for you to be able to make a difference.

Religious approach: There is some value in suffering.

J said 'Blessed are those who are persecuted bc of righteousness, for theirs is the K of H.'

This shows how suffering gives Christians perseverance and a hope that there is something better - heaven.

E.g. somebody who has died and donates their organs.

Although their family suffer grief, it is valuable suffering bc it enables a person to have a new life with healthy organs.

It depends on the number of people suffering.

E.g. there is no duty to stop a TV programme that offends 1 person when it is enjoyed by 1000 other viewers.

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